Monday, November 18, 2013

The holiday season is upon us!

To be truthful, the last two years were all about surviving.  I somehow pulled it together to make a positive space for my girls, to delight in their magical belief in Santa and the Christmas spirit.  I remember baking pound cake to give to our neighbors, how proud big sister was going from house to house, saying “I made this” and “happy holidays” so I found joy in her words and felt a smidgeon of satisfaction that she was learning that Christmas was about giving, not just receiving.
Hauling out my grandmother’s sugar cookie recipe and baking cookies from scratch (with home made icing, too!) for our Santa, leaving magical reindeer food on the table outside, hoping the reindeer would take a bite.  Watching big sister painstakingly write a letter to santa, asking for humble gifts like a hula hoop or a jump rope, or a puppy for her baby sister.
I have to remember these sweetheart moments.  Waking up in the crepuscular light, with big sister whispering last year, “presents, mommy, presents!” because she had snuck downstairs to take a look at the goodies.  The year before, big sister had bounded back upstairs telling me, “he ATE them!!” meaning the cookies we had worked so hard to bake with her best pal, had disappeared, leaving only crumbs. 
This year, i revel and relish and look forward to more moments like these.  And yet at the same time my heart feels heavy.  I long for an in tact family—a family that is not divided.  A family that looks forward to seeing each other and celebrating the joys.  A family that is bound by love.
I look back at my childhood and see that my mom did the same for us.  A single parent household, but she managed to work some miracles—filling our stockings, providing christmas dinner, taking us to christmas eve service.  And yet our family was also filled with divisiveness and pain, too.  Divorce, deaths.  Fights between my stepbrother and my brother, one that led to threats of murder and for which my brother left our house never to return.
Maybe I need to admit it’s not that I long for a family united just for my children.  I also know the cost of pain and sorrow that we experienced before and that price is too much to bear.  But maybe, I long for a family united for myself.  A do-over.  A desperate wish to love and be loved.  To have my father back from heaven.  To have my mother returned from illness.
These wishes leave my heart like a tidal wave, fervent, powerful, unrelenting, and I feel tears carry them along the current.  Maybe they will always be with me, riding the changing tides.  Maybe--by creating holiday memories for my babies, it will be a way to find holiday peace.

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